Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Judge Napolitano and Robert Murphy

If you aren’t watching the lectures from Mises University this week, you are missing out.  Then again, you may have something more important to do this week – like making a million bucks or curing cancer or something.

I would like to offer two highlights…so far.  Judge Napolitano gave a presentation on Monday evening; it was the introduction to his week-long course on the Constitution and the Free Market.  The audio is here.  If you don’t want to listen to the whole thing, please share some portion of that million bucks you are making this week…and also at least listen to the last few minutes.  Do so while sitting next to your young child or grandchild.  You will not remain tearless, because you know it is likely true…for them, not you.

Second, Robert Murphy.  He gave a lecture entitled The Economics of the Stateless Society.  In it, he spoke of the libertarian position on immigration. 

Now…before I get to the punchline…there are a handful of libertarians who understand that open borders is NOT “the only position for libertarians.”  In fact, it is not a libertarian position at all.  Such as these (Hans Hoppe being, perhaps, the most prominent) come at it from different angles, but conclude this point.

I have made this argument from several angles.  I have now found the second person ever (to my knowledge) who has come at it from one of the more unique of my many angles (and I do not claim to be the original or unique; as many of you know, I come to my positions while almost purposely avoiding the views of others who may be ahead of me on various such topics).

I cite Murphy:

As with something like “prayer in school,” there is no good answer when we give monopoly power to coercive State.

Precisely!  The question of borders CANNOT be resolved in a pure manner via the non-aggression principle as long as there are state borders.  It is an especially impossible position for those libertarians who claim to be for a minarchist state.

No such thing as a “right to travel freely.” E.g. malls – fancy restaurant – country club – house.

In a free society, private landowners set whatever policies they want on their property.

Precisely… again.  In a world of private property, there are NO OPEN BORDERS.  So how does libertarian theory lead to a conclusion that open borders is the only possible libertarian position? 

It cannot.


Find time to watch or listen to the lectures from this conference.


  1. Until August 1914 a sensible, law-abiding Englishman could pass through life and hardly notice the existence of the state beyond the post office and the policeman. . . . He could travel abroad or leave his country forever without a passport or any sort of official permission. He could exchange his money without restriction or limit. He could buy goods from any country in the world on the same terms as he bought goods at home. For that matter a foreigner could spend his life in the country without permit and without informing the police. . . .

    No one can come in no one can go out .
    Like North Korea.

    1. Your point being what? That England pre 1914 had no overarching state to contend with and as a byproduct not much of a welfare state that sucked it's residents dry via taxation to support it?

      The key difference is that people are free to leave to England for the most part, but not free of it's governments tax burdens if they live there. That's very different from N. Korea.

    2. Yes…as early as the mid-fourteenth century, Britain had what is known as poor laws. There was little relief available for those of able body who would not perform compulsory work. While the system changed over the decades and centuries, the basic philosophy remained until the end of the 19th century, when new reforms were instituted.

      In the time immediately prior to the referenced 1914, various reform societies, and trade unions provided relief *for their members*; work was still expected from those who were able bodied. There was little if any available for those who did not work.

      General public funding for education came about only in the last decade of the 19th century.

      Prior to 1911, healthcare was privately funded, unless one could obtain care via a private charity.

      Just a few examples of the differences ignored when AJP Taylor’s statement is casually tossed about.

    3. my point is are you going to hold same views if your government become as cuba,ussr,n.korea, venezuela

      Voyage of the Damned

    4. What "same views" are you talking about? This post covers two points:

      1) In the United States, one day people may have to decide to take a confrontational stand against the government.

      2) The non-aggression principle does not offer an answer regarding open borders and immigration.

      So, to avoid further confusion, WHAT IS YOUR POINT?

    5. my point is :birds of a feather flock together
      change warfare and welfare state, than refugees immigrants foreigners will not be any problem.

      my position is similar to this:

      At least two fundamental principles of Western law had their origin in Mosaic Israel. The first principle was the rule of law itself: every resident was to be protected equally by the civil law. The second principle was open immigration. The nation’s treatment of the immigrant served as a touchstone in Israel of the nation’s faithfulness to the first principle.

      Open immigration was an important means of evangelism.

      Thus, Israel was not just the Promised Land for Abraham and his heirs. It was supposed to remain the Promised Land for the oppressed of the world. And, in some periods, it really was.

      In ancient Israel, there was a national priesthood, which was assumed to be the primary agency of cultural assimilation for immigrants. This is why immigrants were allowed to become Israelites through circumcision. Political citizenship followed in three generations for Egyptians and Edomites, and in ten generations for Moabites and Ammonites.
      Confession, circumcision, and Passover were the initial means of assimilation. That is, the assimilation process began with religion. The same outlook long prevailed in the West, with the Christian church serving as the priesthood. The church was the primary means of cultural assimilation.

      A very big question is this one: in a nation that allows wealth re- distribution through politics, what is to protect today’s property owners from tomorrow’s voters? When people can vote for a liv- ing, what prevents the arrival of an army of new voters, many with their eyes on the politically transferable wealth of the Promised Land? Even if they do not understand how wealth is transferred politically when they arrive, another army of salaried welfare professionals will soon teach them. After all, their jobs depend on a continuing stream of recipients.

      In short, where the welfare state is deeply entrenched, a nation will no longer be willing to serve as a sanctuary. It costs too much. If the welfare state ever becomes universal, locked-in populations will also become universal. There will be no escape from tyranny because of the border guards who keep would-be refugees from crossing the border into greater freedom.
      A nation’s voters may seek to vote themselves wealth from their fellows, but in doing so they create an engine of plunder that evil men will seek to control.


    6. "change warfare and welfare state, than refugees immigrants foreigners will not be any problem."

      I agree. I will add: enforce private property to the full meaning of the term.

      But, in the meantime, here we are....

  2. After Hoppe, it is Murphy who has done yeoman's work on the mechanics of a truly free society. "Chaos Theory" is a much, much under-rated work that deserves more attention and a revision and expansion. Murphy's Krugman smashing is great, if not as clear as it could be; but I think he's specializing in the thing he's not the best at.